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SME cashflow returns to pre-circuit breaker levels: OCBC

Small and medium-sized enterprises in healthcare and transport were the strongest performers in OCBC's SME index last quarter.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have finally hit a positive score in OCBC's SME Index.

For its first quarter report, SMEs finally breached the neutral 50 to a have a positive 51.2 in the index.

An above 50 score signifies improved health and a score below 50 shows a deterioration compared to the same period last year. This is the third straight quarter of score increases since it plummeted to a 41.1 during the second quarter of 2020.

For the fifth straight quarter, the healthcare industry continous to be the top index performer, exceeding the 50 mark as early as the the third quarter of 2020. For the first quarter of 2021, it had a score of 51.1 points.

Transport and storage was expansionary since the fourth quarter of 2020, and continued its momentum with 51.7 points in the latest index.

Meanwhile challenges still remain for the food services and the building and construction industries, scoring 50.8 and 50.9 respectively.

OCBC noted that these challenges will mainly come from constraints on foreign labour supply and restrictions on travel following the surge of COVID-19 cases in countries like India.

The OCBC SME Index was developed by OCBC Bank Global Commercial Banking, based on transactional data from the banks 100,000 SME customers in Singapore.

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